UK aid ‘should focus on climate change’

9 May 19

The international development select committee has urged the government to put climate change at the heart of UK aid strategy.

Its report, released yesterday, on combating climate change has said this is “the single biggest threat to stability and well being in some of the world’s most vulnerable nations”.

The committee’s comments follow the appointment of new international development secretary Rory Stewart after the surprise move of Penny Mordaunt to defence.

Calling on UK aid for fossil fuel projects to end, the committee’s report argues that the UK’s target of spending £1.76bn on aid for climate-change related activities, should become the “annual minimum”.

Climate finance, it said, should be viewed as the cutting edge of a comprehensive aid strategy, linked to poverty reduction and adaptive technology, and based on the latest science.

Stephen Twigg, chair of the international development committee, said: “We cannot simply reflect on what we do at home.

“We must look at how we can provide the best support to those nations that will face the most serious consequences of climate change, yet have done little to cause it.”

Twigg welcomed the rising profile of climate change in the media thanks to the campaigning of schoolgirl Greta Thunberg.

During its inquiry, the committee heard from the conservation organisation WWF that climate change is already impacting people around the world, exacerbating poverty, and undermining development efforts.

Evidence from Oxfam GB stated that the 3.5 billion poorest people around the world face increased risk of floods, droughts, hunger and disease.

Marie Stopes International told the committee that if the international community fails to take action, progress made towards development over the past decades will be reversed.

Pointing to “incoherence” in government policy, the committee’s report said that UK Export Finance between 2010 and 2016 provided support worth £4.8bn to fossil fuel projects compared to £4.9bn on the International Climate Fund from 2011 to 2017.

It said: “Supporting the fossil fuel economy in developing countries damages the effectiveness of the UK’s approach to combatting climate change and this should be rectified urgently.”

 

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